Readers Chompee, Ken and Mike tell me that Nikka Ramen restaurant is coming to 5701 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of India Club restaurant. I am told that they have a sign up and workers remodeling inside.



George’s Smokehouse food truck has gone out of business. Here is a message for their patrons:

“It is with a heavy heart and an empty smoker that we regret to announce that Georgia’s Smokehouse will be stopping operations as of August 31st, 2016. We would like to thank you for your support and your belief to feed all of you! WE had a great time getting to know all of you through the trucks and sharing our love of hospitality and customer service. WE would like to thank all of our employees that have made it possible for us to do what we do, they all worked extremely hard and were dedicated to sharing our BBQ with all of you! We hope to see you all soon.”



Here is a press release:

Santa Barbara Restaurateur Offers Free Meals to Honor Firefighters

The Black Sheep and Oveja Blanca Restaurante to offer a week of dining for Santa Barbara County firefighters, September 18-22, 2016.

Santa Barbara, Calif., September 14, 2016 – Santa Barbara restaurants The Black Sheep and Oveja Blanca Restaurante plan to close to the public to offer a week of free, private dining for firefighters and their families, September 18-22, 2016.

“Given the many fires that have happened in our area in recent years, we want to give back to those who risk their lives every day to protect us from urban and wild fires, respond to emergencies of all kinds, and often are not in the spotlight,” said Ruben Perez, co-owner of both eateries with his father Robert Perez.

The restaurateurs plan to close both The Black Sheep and Oveja Blanca to serve dinner to California’s firefighters to thank and recognize them for their service. Reservations must be made and service during this time will be exclusively for firefighters and their families.

September’s Week of Dining is the Perez family’s first in a series to recognize service sectors in our community. Plans for three additional dining weeks will honor law enforcement, armed forces, and hospital staff (paramedics, nurses, doctors).

To make a reservation:

The Black Sheep
26 East Ortega Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Oveja Blanca Restaurante
Located adjacent to The Black Sheep
30 E. Ortega St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101



Ca’ Dario Trattoria and Pizzeria is coming to Goleta next to the new French Press in the Kmart Shopping Center, a few doors north of Rusty’s Pizza. This space is the former home of Sam’s To Go which moved across the parking lot in 2012. Owner Dario Furlati tells me that prices will be lowered without cutting quality. Opening is scheduled for November or December depending on when permits are ready.



A reader told me that the new Dickey’s BBQ Pit at 7000 Hollister Avenue in Goleta opens on September 16th. When I stopped by the business, a worker inside told me it opens on the 16th. Reader Annie now tells me that Dickey’s is opening on September 22nd.



Readers Barry, CattyGirl, Peter and Philippe have been sending me updates about Relais de Paris at 734 State Street. Apparently the business has been closed for awhile. The windows have been papered over and there was a sign that said the business is reopening September 1st. The voice message at Relais de Paris still says they are reopening September 1st. Unfortunately September 1st has come and gone. More recently I have been told that the “reopening September 1st” sign is now down, the windows are still papered over and Open Table now lists Relais de Paris as closed permanently.

It is hard to tell what is really going on. Relais de Paris closed in  January 2015 and posted a note on the front door saying they are remodeling and will reopen “next week.” They ended up staying closed until July 2015 when they opened briefly. Relais de Paris then closed again until November 2015 when they opened under new ownership.

I’ll list them as closed, until they aren’t.



I was dining at Los Agaves recently and was told by management that a location will be coming to lower State Street and, at some point, in Oxnard. I ran in to owner Carlos Luna at last week’s Taste of the Town who told me the name of the business will be Mestizo, not Los Agaves. The word “Mestizo” means a mix between Indian and Spanish. The location is next to Hotel Indigo at 119 State Street, as a reader Annie suggested, which is  the former home of Nuance, Blue Tavern, Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, and Subway. Mestizo will offer Mexican cuisine with a menu similar to Los Agaves, with full service and a full bar. The earliest possible opening for Mestizo is December. The opening of Los Agaves at The Collection in Oxnard is set for January. The Oxnard lease was just signed a few weeks ago and construction starts next month.



From the Santa Maria Times:

Mattei’s Tavern owner arrested for wire fraud. In addition to wire fraud, Charles A. Banks, who also partially owns Qupé winery, is being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding an investor.”

For the full story visit

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Next to the new Pickles & Swiss will be Dickey’s Barbecue Pit at 7000 Hollister Avenue in Goleta which opens September 16th. Billed as the nation’s largest barbecue chain Dickie’s has locations coast to coast. Their web site,, tells their story:

“Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is a true American success story. In 1941, Travis Dickey, a World War I veteran, opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Dallas, Texas. Dickey was a true Texas character blessed with the gift of gab and the love of authentic, slow-smoked barbecue. In the beginning, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was truly a family operation with Travis working the block and Miss Ollie Dickey serving sandwiches. Space on the restaurant sign was rented out to help pay the start-up costs for the restaurant and the menu was limited to beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, beer, bottled milk and sodas. Brothers Roland and T.D. Dickey took over the business in 1967, continuing their father’s legacy of quality, hickory smoked signature meats. Under the direction of the Dickey brothers, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit expanded throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area and quickly became known throughout Texas for mouthwatering hickory-smoked barbecue, popular catered events and the iconic Big Yellow Cups. Franchising began in 1994 after loyal guests and barbecue fanatics demanded more locations. Today with over 530 locations in 43 states, loyal guests are what keep Dickey’s thriving in every community.”

Thanks to readers Goleta Bob, Hugh, Zachary, and Justin for the tips!

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Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, available locally at 1324 State Street and 3315 State Street, will be coming to a new building being constructed at the the corner of Carpinteria Avenue and Holly Avenue in Carpinteria. Opening is scheduled for early 2018.



Pickles & Swiss deli has opened their second South Coast location in the Hollister Village Plaza at 7060 Hollister Avenue # 102 in Goleta between Dickie’s Barbecue Pit and Zizzo’s. Manager Blake Hayashi tells me that the menu has been updated and that the menu changes will be migrated to their flagship location at 811 State Street. One of the new offerings includes the “All Day Brunch Dunch” egg sandwich. They have upgraded their signature Pickles & Swiss sandwich and I am told that it is a lot different than the one on State Street. “We definitely stepped it up,” says Blake XXX. “There is ham and prosciutto, the Swiss cheese gets melted, we have a sweet onion jam that goes on the bottom, there’s a home-made aioli and a pickled swath that goes on top. All this comes together, it’s unique, it’s different and it is really delicious. It’s something you’ve never had before.” Hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. Visit

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I was dining at Los Agaves yesterday and was told by management that a location will be opening this month on lower State Street and, at some point, in Oxnard. I wasn’t told exactly where the local location would be except that it is somewhere near where Big Dogs used to be. Reader Annie tells me that a lease is signed for Los Agaves to open in the Hotel Indigo, 121 State Street, which fits pretty well with what I know. I believe that means the address will be the neighboring space at 119 State Street, the former home of Nuance, Blue Tavern, Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, and Subway.



Acme Hospitality, owners and operators of a collection of boutique food and beverage concepts in the heart of the Funk Zone, confirms their latest endeavor – Loquita – a Spanish concept opening this month at 202 State Street.

The menu, created by Executive Chef Peter Lee with input from celebrated Spanish Chef Perfecte Rocher, presents authentic Spanish food including hot and cold tapas, wood-fired seafood, grilled meats, and three types of paella.  The wine list is comprised almost entirely of Spanish wines with local wines that pair well with the cuisine. A full cocktail program featuring a selection of Spanish Vermouths, farmers’ market Sangria, hand-crafted cocktails and the customary offerings of gin-and-tonics.

Loquita is located on State Street directly across the street from the train station at the corner of Yanonali. The restaurant is anchored by an expansive bar, stand up bar counter and a seated chef’s counter that looks directly in to the open kitchen where diners can observe the action firsthand. The 120 seat space includes both indoor and outdoor seating and a spacious outdoor private dining room for small groups warmed by a fireplace. The outdoor patio seating is flanked by a fire pit.  A separate tapas bar named Poquita with a dedicated entrance off Yanonali Street serves pintxos, charcuterie and cheeses, tapas, and house wine and beer.

Leading the culinary team is Peter Lee, with a resume that includes most recently the award-winning Jöel Robuchon in Las Vegas and earlier stints at Gusto and Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. Skyler Gamble, recruited from The Lark where he has worked since its opening in 2013, will oversee front of house operations as Loquita’s General Manager.

“I was inspired by a quote I read in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine that said ‘Spain is a country with a big heart, a big thirst for wine, a big appetite for great food and a big affinity for art, music and sports,’ comments Sherry Villanueva, Managing Partner for Acme Hospitality the group behind the restaurant. “Those who live, work and play in Santa Barbara share these values. Santa Barbara’s rich Spanish colonial history has defined our city in ways that span architecture, food, wine and even informs our community celebrations. It’s the right time to dedicate our next restaurant to the incredible culture and food that Spain is known for, but interpreted by a contemporary California sensibility that is our company’s signature,” said Villanueva. “It’s no wonder that Spain is recognized as one of the greatest countries for food and dining today. We hope to bring some of that flavor to Santa Barbara.”

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The public is invited to attend the 35th Annual Taste of the Town Santa Barbara, the area’s signature culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, featuring tastings from 80 local restaurants and Central Coast wineries, breweries and distillers on Sunday, September 11, from noon to 3 p.m. at Riviera Park Gardens, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra. This popular community event features tastings, entertainment and a silent auction in a beautiful setting overlooking the city. Returning to Co-Chair this Santa Barbara tradition are opal Restaurant & Bar co-owners, Tina Takaya and Richard Yates. Ron Melville is the 2016 Honorary Vintner.

This year, Taste of the Town announced three Honorary Lead Chefs including Bacara Resort & Spa’s Executive Chef Vincent Lesage, who recently opened the new Angel Oak restaurant at Bacara; in addition to Patrice Martineau, Executive Chef at Montage Beverly Hills and Chef Johan Denizot, Executive Chef at the Belmond El Encanto Santa Barbara. Each chef and his team will design a course as part of a menu for event sponsors and their guests at the Connoisseurs’ Circle on Friday evening, September 9, 2016 at Bacara Resort & Spa. Now in its eighth year, the Connoisseurs’ Circle VIP experience creates an opportunity to enjoy culinary expertise up close, on the Friday night before Taste of the Town’s traditional Sunday food and wine event at Riviera Park Gardens.

  • Chef Patrice Martineau, Montage Beverly Hills: Award-winning Chef Martineau was recently named Executive Chef at Montage Beverly Hills. Martineau was classically trained in some of France’s most acclaimed restaurants. He began his career in his hometown of Champagne, France at two restaurants, Le Chateaubriand and Le Valentino. Chef Martineau later moved to Burgundy as Chef de Partie at the region’s world-renowned Michelin two-star Abbaye de Saint Michel and Michelin three-star La Côte Saint-Jacques. Chef Martineau later moved to New York and served as Chef de Cuisine at Daniel Boulud’s iconic New York eatery, Daniel. He acted as Boulud’s second-in-command at Daniel for six years amidst Manhattan’s highly competitive and robust culinary landscape. Martineau was then tapped to assume the role of Executive Chef at London’s Savoy Hotel, before joining the pre-opening team as Chef de Cuisine at The Peninsula Tokyo’s Peter Restaurant. Most recently, Chef Martineau served as Executive Chef at the Belmond El Encanto Hotel and the Viceroy Palm Springs.
  • Chef Johan Denizot, Belmond El Encanto: Denizot is the Executive Chef of Belmond El Encanto, recently joining the resort from Bacara Resort & Spa. French born, raised, and trained, Denizot garnered nearly a decade of culinary experience before beginning his career in the United States, where he launched the pastry and bakery program at Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro in San Francisco. Denizot went on to implement menus at Root 246 in Solvang and most recently Miro at Bacara, where he was instrumental in the restaurant earning its Forbes four-star rating. Fluent in French, English, and Spanish, Denizot received his Certificate of Professional Studies in the Culinary Fields at the Restaurant Formation School in Pontarlier, France, and then received his Certificate of Professional Aptitude at CFA Hilaire de Chardonnet in Besançon, France.
  • Chef Vincent Lesage, Bacara Resort & Spa: At the age of 30, Chef Lesage’s impressive career already includes Michelin three-star restaurants in Paris as well as experience at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Born and raised in Paris at the center of the food universe, Lesage was surrounded by the flavors and techniques that define French gastronomy. After graduating from the Institute Paul Bocuse in Écully, France, Lesage trained at celebrated establishments including The Ritz Paris, the Michelin three-star restaurant L’Astrance, and Michelin three-star restaurant Bras. Most recently, Lesage served as the Executive Chef of Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. Since 2015 as Executive Chef of Bacara’s renowned culinary program, Lesage oversees the resort’s six dining experiences including a new signature restaurant Angel Oak.

All proceeds from Taste of the Town support the local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through health education, advocacy, research, and local juvenile arthritis support. Taste of the Town tickets purchased in advance are $125 per person; tickets at the door will be $140.

Tickets are limited, so early reservations are encouraged by calling the Arthritis Foundation at 563-4685 or by visiting

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McDonald’s is helping kick-start your little pupil’s year with a free breakfast. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, participating restaurants will offer free breakfast from 6:30-9:30 a.m. to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Students can enjoy an Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich, made with a freshly cracked egg, along with apple slices and choice of milk or OJ.



Readers Heidi, Maureen and several others (thank you!) let me know that Goleta Petrini’s at 5711 Calle Real has closed their doors permanently. The business opened in January 2011. Here is a message for you from management: “To all of our kind, wonderful and generous patrons, we are sad we must close this Goleta location of Petrini’s Italian Restaurant. We hope you will continue to visit us at our other location, the original, at 14 W. Calle Laureles in Santa Barbara. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. “



I have returned from a couple of weeks backpacking in the wilderness. Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!

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Vons market has opened at 2010 Cliff Drive, the former home of Albertsons and Haggen. Reader Primetime stopped in to check things out and sent me this report:

“New Mesa Vons in Santa Barbara shows local look in a unique pocket of the city with few choices. Neighbors smiling. Modest prices for the working class. Higher end for those on that budget. Enough to fill college refrigerators at packed SB City College. Only one other large market choice on the Mesa was a problem after Haggen imploded and Albertsons was gone for months. (Vons and Albertsons are one now.) Grand opening had specials and freebies. Many local wines, beers, custom made Santa Barbara food products, and organics.”



Reader James tells me that Pizza Man Dan’s has opened at 699 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria, the former long-time home of Tony’s:

“John, it looks as though Pizza Man Dan opened Friday in Carpinteria. The remodel of the old Tony’s is stunning, and the place just sparkles. Beautiful patio out back. Rumor has it that there are 40 TVs inside, so sports fans can rejoice. Welcome to the neighborhood! James Sly, Sly’s”

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Food news junkie and rumormonger Chompee McGillicutty tells me that a taco joint and sushi restaurant, perhaps connected to Miso Hungry, will split the old Sojourner spot at 134 East Canon Perdido Street.

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Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market opened at 165 North Fairview Avenue, the former home of Safeway, Vons and Haggen. A ribbon cutting was held at 7 a.m. this morning. On Saturday August 27th the first 200 customers will receive coupons for five free sandwiches, and on Sunday August 28th every 15th customer will receive a $5 coupon, valid for a week, that can be used when you spend more than $15.



Reader Cris gave me the heads-up that pizza parlor Pieology of Goleta is getting close to opening so I stopped by the restaurant and confirmed the news. Hollister Village Plaza’s newest tenant is scheduled top open Saturday, August 27th at 7000 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. This franchised location is run by Cotti Foods that operates locations in Hawaii and around California. “The brand is about inspiration and customization where a guest can come in and tell us exactly how they want their pizza,” says Shane Gray, VP of Marketing for Cotti Foods. “You want more mushrooms? No problem. Even more mushrooms? No problem! Making it the way you want it is what makes it special.”

Pieology, which has more than 100 locations across the U.S., offers more than 30 different topping choices at a fixed price which results in hundreds of pizza combinations that can be custom-made for each customer. Menu options include sauces such as herb butter, red sauce or olive oil as well as a variety of cheese choices including mozzarella, parmesan or gorgonzola. Toppings include a range for meats such as chicken, sausage or meatball to a variety of vegetables or unique items like jalapeno or pineapple. Pieology also offers “after bakes” that can be added after the pizza such as roasted red peppers, dollops of red sauce or pesto. Gluten-free crust is also available.

Pieology joins Smart & Final Extra!, Zizzo’s at the plaza and future tenants include Dickey’s BBQ, Pickles & Swiss, Poke Me and Kyle’s Kitchen.

Hours are 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Visit

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Reader Cris let me know that the “new” Taco Bell at 140 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta has opened. The dated building was demolished earlier this year and a brand new restaurant now awaits Taco Bell fans.

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This just in from Los Arroyos, 1280 Coast Village Road in Montecito:

Hello John!!

Thank you for writing every week in the Indy!!  We love following our local restaurant and hospitality pals in SB!!!

Wanted to let you know that next Thursday, August 25th is our 12th Anniversary at Los Arroyos Montecito and like we did at Fiesta, we will have the same, awesome Mariachi join us to celebrate at dinner…. drink specials and birthday festivities as well!!!!!

Many thanks!!

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Reader Primetime sent a tip that local java institution Coffee Cat at 1201 Anacapa Street is closing. I called the business and was told that August 31 will be their last day. Financial difficulties is cited as the reason. Here is a message for you:

“Neighborhood Thank-You Morning. Thu Aug 25th 6am-11am
Join is for brewed coffee and treats on the house! After more than 20 years on this gorgeous corner, we are closing our doors at the end of August. We would like to thank our amazing customers and staff for your loyalty and friendship, we will miss our Coffee Cat family! It has been an honor to be a part of this special community.”

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Reader Karl tells me that India House restaurant at 418 State Street, which opened February 2010, will be closing their doors at the end of August. I stopped by the restaurant and a representative confirmed the news. This will be the second Indian restaurant to close this summer. India Club at 5701 Calle Real in Goleta closed in July.

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For the 3rd time in a year and a half the grocery market at 165 North Fairview Avenue will change names. It started as Vons, had a brief stint as Haggen, and now will be the home of Sprouts Farmers Market. At  7 a.m. on August 24th there will be a ribbon-cutting followed by giveaways including 20 percent discount for the first 200 shoppers.



Reader Annie let me know that the web site for Hollister Village Plaza at 7000 Hollister Avenue in Goleta has announced that they have signed up Kyle’s Kitchen to be a tenant at the east end of the shopping center, next to upcoming eateries Pieology and Poke Me. In December 2014 Kyle’s Kitchen opened a location at 5723 Calle Real in Goleta between Petrini’s and Trader Joe’s. Visit

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This just in from reader Mike:

“Just an FYI for those that like hot dogs.  Dave’s Dog’s is now operating during the lunch hour in Old Town Goleta at the corner of Magnolia and Hollister (next to the Auto Stereo place).  Their Facebook page seems to indicate this is semi-permanent.”


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This just in from reader CattyGirl:

“I just walked past the newly opened Red Piano bar. It was packed with a waiting line. The ‘piano man’ was singing Billy Joel. There is a disco ball. Nice vibe, happy people.” Red Piano is at 519 State Street, formerly Statemynt and the Study Hall.

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